Scorching Tri

Coach Ray’s Sufferings: The Start

As part of the #100DaysOfTri Facebook group I publicly announced that I would train for the Marlborough Sounds Half Ironman this season. I did this for a few reasons, but most importantly I wanted to be held accountable for my training and to get out the door and get fit again. Now I’m not necessarily unfit, just not as fit or anywhere near the form I used to be in. I’m now in my forties and am still a bit heavier than I probably need to be (I’m certainly not the shape I was when I met my partner). Being committed to my training will help me get back to where I want to be health and weight wise.

The #100DaysOfTri Facebook group is really good at providing support and motivation to be consistent with your training, although for various reasons I’ve slacked a couple of times and haven’t managed to complete 100 consecutive days training.  When I missed a day I have had to start again from Day 1 the next time I got out training. I did have a really successful run (no pun intended) and got up into the seventies, but then I had to take a break, as my doctor didn’t want me exercising during the recovery after a minor medical procedure I have recently had done. That was (nearly) two weeks of no exercising.

This blog which will be published each Sunday evening (about 7pm) is my way to keep myself accountable to my training and my supporters, by detailing my training (including Strava links). I will open up about my successes and my challenges and talk candidly about my training.

This week was pretty good.  Over Labour weekend my partner and I spent a bit of time in the garden, but I got out for a road ride on the Saturday and then we went mountain biking in Kaiteriteri on the Sunday, but onto this week.


Having been away for a bit, it has been a long time since I’ve ridden in Silvan Forest, so Rach and I went for a ride up there and I got to explore the new tracks. Although it was a little damp, the tracks were in good condition. Although I set PBs on both Jubilee and Exodus, I really enjoyed the new downhill from the top of Alpha and I enjoyed the challenges thrown at me by Goliath which was very dry and rocky for this ride. I can only dream of keeping up with Rach on these technical trails.

Strava link to ride.


I got up for an early swim conducting a 400m Warm Up, before moving on to a set of 12x 50m drill/swim. The main set was made up of 6x 100m with a 20 sec Rest Interval (RI), then 6x 50m with 10sec RI, then 6x 25m with 5sec RI. Finishing with a 250m Cool Down. I had a technology fail, accidentally hitting the stop button on my Garmin after 750m, instead of the lap button. Interestingly a number of my athletes also had technology fails today as well.  At least I was able to offer them some empathy as a result.

Strava link to swim.

I then drove over to Anikiwa were I met up with soldiers from both Alpha and Bravo Coy, 2nd/1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Battalion, where in my role as a Physical Training Instructor in the Army I was taking them for some adventure training to develop both their resilience whilst doing activities they are unfamiliar with (as not many had done any form of mountain biking or sea kayaking previously), as well as the leadership skills of the junior commanders who were in charge of each small team.  We camped in a paddock behind Outward Bound, and gave them briefs about the activities over the coming days.


After the rain set in the previous evening, I awoke to find that my tent didn’t 100% survive the night, but with such a volume of rain falling and only a few drips sneaking into my tent I was a lot better off than some of the soldiers. I briefed each group prior to them departing. But with the sodden conditions, the Queen Charlotte Track was friggin’ slippery and that made it challenging for all of us. I departed about 20 minutes after the last group and would sweep the track picking up anyone who was struggling or had a mechanical issue. With the condition of the hire bikes it wasn’t a surprise that after 30 minutes I had caught up to my first customer with a broken chain. I qwikly fixed that and got everyone on their bikes again. The jaunt through to Mistletoe Bay took some time and enabled me to coach some of the less skillful riders in the group.

On arrival at Mistletoe I met up with the support vehicle and an assortment of riders who needed various repairs on their bikes. Both the sea kayakers and the mountain bikers had drunk the Eco Village out of coffee, but thankfully I got a hot chocolate to warm myself up with whilst I got the bikes fixed. I sent the support vehicle forward to our night location at Cowshed Bay to uplift a couple of spare bikes and got everyone going again having made one of the bikes a single speed after the derailleur had been severely damaged. By this stage the Company Commander had arrived and was keen to join me on the ride, so we set off together through to Torea Saddle and then down to Cowshed Bay for the night. I set up my tent, and then went with a couple of key people on a reconnaissance of the next nights location at Camp Bay before getting an early night.

Strava link for the ride.


Half Ironman TrainingAs today was a bigger day riding through to Camp Bay, it was early to rise and get the group of soldiers who paddled the previous day onto (what was left of the bikes) and out on the Queen Charlotte Track. Unfortunately, the Company Commander had some administrative work to sort out this morning and as I waited for him to return from finding cell phone coverage to complete this work, we got riding over an hour after the other soldiers.

Half Ironman
Cow Shed Bay in the morning mist.

We rode solidly and after a couple of hours riding we caught up to the back markers. After pushing them on we decided to take a pause and admire the view. Unfortunately, during this pause we received a call advising us that a soldier had crashed and broken his leg. My job was to carry a satellite phone if we needed to call in the rescue chopper, but as they had cell phone coverage they were able to make an improvised stretcher and carry the soldier back up hill to the Bay of Many Coves Shelter. The boss and I carried on riding the few kilometres to that location and waited with the soldier until the rescue helicopter turned up. About this point my Garmin ran out of batteries so the rest of the ride wasn’t recorded fully, but rest assured we continued with the ride as it was mainly downhill to the end.

Strava link for the ride.


Unfortunately I had a busy day with a bit of travelling. I also picked up my daughter and I put some focus into her and family time with my partner and her children. We cooked a yummy healthy pizza and I had good intentions of going for a run once I had got Milla into bed, but then didn’t give it a second thought once she was. Back to Day 1 of the #100DaysOfTri again tomorrow.


Not wanting to miss going for another workout, I got out early in the morning for a short 30 minute run. I went from home down to the Waimea Estuary by the swimming pool and ran along the great taste track for a short distance before turning around and running home. This run literally flew by as my thoughts were to setting goals and dreaming up this blog series. I also filmed a short video for the#100DaysOfTri Facebook group.

I have since found out that the Marlborough Half Ironman isn’t occurring for this season, so now have to reassess goals. I’m leaning towards either Wellington Half Ironman or Lake Wanaka Half Ironman or both.

Strava link for the run.


Half IronmanAs I drove back to Burnham making the commute from Nelson for the last time, I paused in Kaikoura to go for a run. I have previously ran the peninsula track and have enjoyed it and again this time I did too.

Strava link for the run.




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